Denmark and Tunisia got their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign under way with a goalless draw in Group D at the Education City Stadium on Tuesday (November 22). Both teams had a host of chances to break the deadlock but were denied by excellent defending or the offside flag.
Tunisia began the game on the front foot, pressing the Euro 2020 semifinalists high up the pitch and not giving them time to build play from the back. They were almost rewarded at the other end when Issam Jebali put the ball in the back of the net, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
The African team came very close to taking the lead in the 11th minute when Mohamed Drager’s 20-yard drive bounced off Andreas Christensen and spun wide with Kasper Schmeichel rooted to the spot.
Buoyed by their spirited start, Tunisia began creating more chances in attack. Youssef Msakni made a splendid run from midfield and put himself in a good shooting position, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg denied him with a last-ditch tackle.
Jebali, having seen an effort ruled out for offside, almost put Tunisia ahead in the closing minutes of the first half when his attempt to lob Schmeichel was foiled by a brilliant tip wide by the 'keeper as the first half ended all even.
Denmark were the stronger team in the second half, with Christian Eriksen testing Aymen Dahmen's reflexes before Andreas Cornelius missed a guilt-edged chance. Tunisian fans had their hearts in the mouth in the final moments of the games when VAR forced referee Cesar Ramos to check his pitchside monitor for a possible handball.
The Mexican, though, deemed it unnecessary to change his initial decision, giving Tunisia much-needed respite as they forced a share of the spoils. On that note, here are five hits and flops from a nail-biting contest between Denmark and Tunisia in Qatar:
#5 Hit - Kasper Schmeichel | Denmark
Kasper Schmeichel was on song at the Education City Stadium. He was quick off the line to help his team defensively and tried to build attacks with his distribution.
The 36-year-old's best moment of the night came when he denied Issam Jebali with a terrific save when one-on-one with the striker in the first half. Overall, it was a confident performance from the former Leicester City goalkeeper.
#4 Hit - Aymen Dahmen | Tunisia
An entertaining, goalless draw usually means both team's goalkeepers are some of the best players on the pitch, which was the case here too.
Aymen Dahmen did his best to keep a clean sheet, making four saves, most notably from Christian Eriksen in the second half. He was confident when claiming crosses and had good communication with his backline.
#3 Flop - Thomas Delaney | Denmark
A lot was expected from Thomas Delaney, who was anonymous for the most part before being substituted at the end of the first half with an injury. After struggling to make an impact, the Sevilla midfielder will hope to rediscover his form and also hope that his injury isn't serious.
#2 Hit - Aissa Laidouni | Tunisia
Denmark have a solid midfield and were expected to take control of the game in the middle of the park. However, Aissa Laidouni went off-script and put in a man-of-the-match performance.
He had a strong game and popped up all over the pitch, in attack and defence. The combative 25-year-old could have had his name on the scoresheet had he shown some composure in front of goal.
#1 Hit - Issam Jebali | Tunisia
Before the game, pundits spoke about Issam Jebali playing more like an advanced midfielder to help his team out defensively than don his actual role as a striker. However, Jebali made a nuisance of himself for the Denmark defenders and kept them on their toes.
The 30-year-old dropped deep when his team chased the ball and worked hard to keep possession in attack. The offside flag denied him a goal on the big stage before he forced Schmeichel to make a world-class save.